Discover ‘secrets and lies’ at our free lecture series

This August we will be hosting a summer lecture series, sponsored by the Friends of The National Archives and supported by the Royal Historical Society.

Leading historians will address the topic of ‘Secrets and lies’, exploring ideas of truth and ‘alternative facts’ throughout history.

Booking is now open for the lectures. They will start at 17:30 every Wednesday, in the newly opened events space; there will be light refreshments and an original document display from 16:45-17:30.

Sorcery, bastardy and the English Royal Family: ‘Alternative facts’ in 15th-century England 

2 August

Professor Chris Given-Wilson (University of St Andrews) will look at allegations of sorcery and bastardy aimed at members of high society. Despite often thin evidence, these accusations could be remarkably successful at disgracing political opponents or usurping the throne. Book now: ‘Sorcery, bastardy and the English Royal Family’

Making a martyr: How the child murder libel was born in medieval Norwich –

9 August

Professor Miri Rubin (Queen Mary University of London) will discuss a manuscript copied c.1200 – the sole source for the fateful and still intriguing events that led to the invention of the child murder accusation against Jews. Book now: ‘Making a martyr’

Ambassadors and arms dealers in 16th-century Italy

16 August

Dr Catherine Fletcher (Swansea University) will explore the exponential rise in the production, sale and ownership of handguns in the first half of the 16th century, and the challenge they posed for international relations. Book now: ‘Ambassadors and arms dealers’

Unheard, ignored and misrepresented: The Victorian pauper ‘in their own write’

23 August

Dr Paul Carter (The National Archives) will look at welfare in the Victorian period, and the disparity between archival evidence authored by legislators and the thousands of pauper letters which survive in ‘the poor law archive’. Book now ‘Unheard, ignored and misrepresented’

Hitler lives! ‘Alternative facts’ and conspiracy theories

30 August

Professor Sir Richard Evans (University of Cambridge) will discuss the rumours of Hitler’s survival that have persisted since his suicide on 30 April 1945. This talk will look at why and where these claims originated, and the evidence that has been advanced to support them. Book now: ‘Hitler lives!’

Tags: events, news, the national archives